Also, when exactly did 90% of people start wearing helmets? I'm not that old, though I went a few years without skiing in the middle of the decade. In the early 2000s, it was mostly children wearing helmets. Heck, we weren't even required to wear helmets when racing slalom--just a chin guard. Now it seems truly unusual not to wear them. A lift operator even commented on how I wasn't wearing one last year ("oh, tough guy without a helmet, huh?"). Are head injuries really that common? Based on anecdotal experience, at least, it doesn't seem like it. Not one of my friends or teammates has ever hit their head. In fact, I've never even heard of such an injury by word of mouth. You'd think that if skiing were so dangerous, then some friend of a friend would have, at some point, had a head injury. I'm all about rational safety measures, but I can't help but suspect that helmet companies are just feeding the social amplification of risk in this case.
POC popularized the "cool" ski helmet about five years ago (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/201776)
There are a lot more US skiers now than there were five years ago (11.5 million vs. 10.3 million in 2006). So there are more collisions. Also have to factor in snowboarders, where the numbers have also increased. (8.2 million vs. 6.8 million in 2006). I hate to say it, but many snowboards are reckless on groomers. They swerve all over the place with no regard for families, beginners, etc.
Also, skiing is a much more "extreme" sport than it was just five years ago. Recreational and professional skiers are pushing the limits in the backcountry and in the terrain park. High profile deaths have highlighted the need for head protection. Natasha Richardson (skied without a helmet on a BUNNY HILL), Shane McConkey, CR Johnson, Jamie Pierre, Sarah Burke Sonny Bono, Michael Kennedy, Doug Coombs, ... the list goes on and on
Edited by jrd617 - 1/24/12 at 12:21am